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Disciplinary Procedure

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Does a manager holding a disciplinary have to meet an employee before deciding to dismiss?
Not on the facts of this case, held the EAT in Charalambous v National Bank of Greece.

The Claimant was dismissed for gross misconduct over a data breach. Leading up to the dismissal, the dismissing manager had been involved in the initial investigation, before handing the investigation over to another manager. The decision to dismiss was based on a paper consideration of the investigation reports, without the dismissing manager meeting the Claimant to discuss the case, but the Claimant did have a meeting at the appeal stage. The tribunal found that overall, the procedure was within the range of reasonable responses and the dismissal was fair.
The EAT rejected an argument that a previous EAT case Budgen & Co v Thomas established that if a dismissing manager didn’t meet the employee, the dismissal was on the face of it unfair. The EAT noted that it was desirable for a meeting to take place before a decision to dismiss was taken, and the key principle in Budgen was that an employee should have an opportunity to explain their position sufficiently before any decision to dismiss was taken, which the tribunal found had occurred here, even if the process was "less than ideal". Furthermore, the appeal involved a meeting so that would have cured any defect in the first stage of the process.

Thanks to Ed McFarlane for preparing this case summary.